Rabbi Schneider - Preceded by a Shofar
Did you know that the Creator has a calendar? That's right. Even as we have calendars in America and other parts of the world commemorating certain days, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Veterans Day, etc., the Lord, the Creator of the universe, the Creator of you and I, He also has a calendar. It's slightly different than our Gregorian calendar. By Gregorian I mean the name of the Solar System calendar that's used across the world to track time. The Lord's calendar is not based on the sun. The Lord's calendar is based on the moon. It's called a lunar calendar. It's similar in length to the solar calendar but not exactly. The Lord marked His calendar, this lunar calendar that He's given us, He's marked it with certain appointed days.
In fact, this is so important that the 23rd chapter of the Book of Leviticus that we call in Hebrew Vayikra actually walks us through every appointed day on the Creator's calendar. Let's begin today with prayer. Father, we worship you today. We don't want to miss a thing. Father, I pray that Your Word would go forth today and would circumcise our hearts. Father, we declare that your word is living and active, sharper than a two-edged sword. And we ask you, Father, to impart divine truth in us with the laser fire of the living word of God. And all of you that are in agreement with me today let's speak Hebrew together and say amen. Did you know when we say amen or amin, it comes from the Hebrew word "emunah" which means "faith". So when we say amin, what we're saying is we're affirming that thing that we're saying amen to. It's like, Yes, I believe. I affirm it. And again, it has to do with faith.
The 23rd chapter of the Book of Leviticus contains God's calendar. And the Lord said to Moses, and He gave these words to Moses obviously to give to all his children. The Lord said to Moses, "These are my appointed days. These are my holy convocations". So when the Lord tells us that He has holy days, which are to be times of holy convocation, days that are set apart for His people so that He can have a special meeting with them, I think those of you that love God would agree with me today we don't want to miss one of God's sacred days because we don't want to miss one of His appointments. The Lord is actually giving us His appointments. He actually said, "These are my appointed days".
In the 23rd chapter of the Book of Leviticus, let's begin there just with the introduction to all these days in verse one and two. The grass withers and the flowers fade, beloved one, but the word of the Lord abides forever. Hear God's word for you right now. The Lord spoke again to Moses saying, "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, The LORD's appointed times..." get that phrase. The Lord's appointed times. These are not just Jewish holidays. These are more significantly the Lord's appointed times. "...the Lord's appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations, my appointed times are these:"
So let's just take a step back for a moment and digest what we just read. These days, although originally given to Israel are not just for Israel only because the Bible says that all of God's elect, Jew and Gentile alike, in Yeshua, in Jesus have now become the Israel of God. So the church is known prophetically in the Brit Chadashah (the New Testament) as the Israel of God. Now the church has not replaced Israel and spiritual Israel has not replaced national Israel. But the point is, is that you have been grafted in if you're a Gentile, through your living faith in Yeshua, you've been grafted in to the commonwealth of Israel. I say all that to say this. These appointed days of the Lord, beloved ones, are for you as well if you're a believer in the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is also the God of Israel.
And so knowing now that these appointed days have relevancy for you whether you're Jewish or not, we're going to turn to the first of the fall holy days. And this series is on the fall holy days because we are now, beloved, in this season. During this series we'll not be able to cover them all today, but we're going to be going over Rosh Hashanah, also known as Yom Teruah, or the Feast of Trumpets. Next, we're going to look at Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), and then we're going to be looking at Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles. So we're gonna be looking at three fall holy days during this study on the fall holy days. We're going to begin then in verse number 24 of Leviticus chapter 23. "Speak to the sons of Israel saying, 'In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder, by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD.'"
Let's read it again slowly. There's two things that I'm wanting to point out and draw your attention to on the first verse. The first thing that I'm wanting us to see together is when this holy day happens, and the second thing that I want us to focus on is what we're supposed to do on this holy day. When does it happen? And what are we supposed to do? So first of all, we find out that this feast happens on the first day of the seventh month in God's calendar, which in Hebrew is called the month of Tishrei. So we read in verse 24, "In the seventh month on the first of the month..." There we go. There's the identification of when it takes place. Now, what are we supposed to do on this day? Two things. We're supposed to blow a trumpet as a reminder and we're not to do any laborious work.
So let's continue on the 24th verse. "You shall have a rest, a reminder, by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any laborious work..." What I find really fascinating, beloved ones, about this is that there's really not a whole lot of information here. We know that it's to be celebrated, it's to be honored, we know when it takes place-on the first day of the month of Tishrei-and we know that we're supposed to blow trumpets as a reminder and not work. The question becomes, why are we blowing the trumpets? And what is the blowing of the trumpets to remind us of? Why do we blow trumpets? And what does the blowing of the trumpet remind us of? And that's what I want to begin to focus on on today's broadcast.
When Israel would think about blowing a trumpet, and they should be reminded of something when that trumpet blows, what immediately comes to mind is in the 19th chapter of the book of Exodus when 3 million Jewish people (Israelites) were gathered in the wilderness at the base of Mount Sinai. And as they were gathered at the bottom of the mountain, they heard from heaven, a divine cosmic shofar begin to sound. If you can imagine what you felt like at certain points in your life when you were standing outside, and all of a sudden it thundered, a thunder cracked through the sky, and when that thunder cracked through the sky was so powerful, you shook because of the awesome power of it. That's what Israel felt at the base of Mount Sinai when that trumpet began to sound. The Bible tells us they began to tremble. They were so terrified they told Moses to ask the Lord to stop speaking to them. They said to Moses, "You go up the mountain and talk to Him and then come back down and tell us what He said".
Now, I want to take a pause again for a second to compartmentalize our thoughts. I want you to wrap your mind around something. I might begin to declare this, that there was a cosmic shofar or divine shofar from heaven that sounded approximately 3,500 years ago in the wilderness, that 3 million Israelites were gathered at the base of the mountain and heard it, it was so powerful, it terrified them. And it might almost feel a bit like a fairy tale. It happened so long ago. We weren't there. Some might be wondering, did that really happen? Many people teach that the Bible tells us good moral truths and that there's good lessons we can learn from it, but they don't believe it's fact.
I am here today as the host of Discovering the Jewish Jesus, beloved one, telling you that this is a fact. That 3,500 years ago, literally 3 million Jews approximately were gathered at the base of Mount Sinai and a cosmic shofar sounded from heaven. How do I know that's true? Well, number one, faith. But beyond faith, which is a gift of God, I know it because when I think about the Jewish people today... Myself I'm 100% Ashkenazi Jew. My wife finally convinced me to go get my test done through ancestry.com because everybody else in my family had it done. I didn't really care. I knew who I was, but I said, "Okay, for the fun of it, I'll do it". Came back 100% Ashkenazi Jew.
So, when I look at my life, I look at my culture, I look at the culture I grew up in, the Jewish culture I grew up in, the Jewish people being so tightly knit together, looking at how successful they've been in business, the amount of Nobel prizes that Jewish people have won, the fact that Jewish people were exiled out of Israel several times... We read about in the Hebrew Bible and then again in the Brit Chadashah (the New Testament), because of sin they were dispersed to all the nations of the world, separated from each other by oceans. They couldn't communicate because there was no technology, you know, 200 years ago, and this goes way farther back than 200 years ago.
This goes back, you know, between 2,000 to 3,000 years ago. Separated by ocean, could not communicate by mail or by technology. And yet the Jewish people, regardless of where in the earth they were living, they didn't assimilate by and large into the other nations. They retained their Jewish identity. And in fact, they've been celebrating Passover, regardless of where they've lived in the world for 3,500 years. It's the oldest feast in the world. So what do I mean by Passover? Well, the thing that preceded Israel coming to the base of Mount Sinai was that they were delivered out of Egypt by the blood of the Passover Lamb. God delivered them out of Egypt, parted the sea and then brought them to the base of Mount Sinai.
Jewish people today, 3,500 years later, I'm speaking in approximate numbers, 3,500 years later had been celebrating Passover every single year since. How could this be possible unless what the Bible says happened really happened? How could Jewish people retain their identity, retain their language, even though they didn't speak Hebrew as a common language of communication, they still read the Torah in Hebrew? How do they retain their identity when the Babylonians have come and gone, the Persians have come and gone, the Medes have come and gone and all the other "ites" have come and gone yet the Jewish people retain their identity, retain their celebration of Passover, the oldest feast in the world? How did that happen? Because God really met them at Sinai. The shofar blew from heaven, they quaked and they thundered and they never forgot it.
And so, on this holy day called the Feast of Trumpets that Jewish people are commanded to celebrate every year, we just read about this in the 24th verse of Leviticus 23, when the Lord said, "I want you to blow the shofar every year on the first day of the seventh month..." And remember, what they remember is how God blew a shofar from heaven. And when the shofar grew louder and louder and louder and the people were trembling and quaking, collapsing under the power, then the Lord spoke. So the announcement of the voice of God into the world, the announcement of God's power and kingdom into the earth was preceded by a trumpet, by a shofar.
Now all these holy days that are found in Leviticus chapter 23, not only had application and have application in their original historic context, which I just overviewed with you, but all these holy days, beloved ones, are prophetic and find their ultimate fulfillment in Messiah Yeshua, in King Jesus. Jesus is the fulfillment of the entire Torah. He is the fulfillment of the entire Tanakh or Old Testament. Everything point to Him. That's why after Yeshua rose from the dead His disciples didn't know that He had risen from the dead yet. They weren't just completely broken. All they knew is that the one that they left everything to follow, Yeshua of Nazareth, all they knew is that the Romans had crucified Him. And they had lost their hope. They didn't know what happened. They were living in a state of total brokenness and confusion.
Again, Jesus had risen from the dead, but they didn't know he rose from the dead. All they knew is the tomb was empty. And they're walking on a road, we read in the gospels, to a city towards Emmaus-Emmaus is the name of the city-and they're all downcast. Everything that they had hoped for, everything that they have believed in for was crushed. The Messiah that they left all for had been crucified. And the Scripture tells us that as they were walking downcast in soul, suddenly a stranger approached them. Now the stranger was Jesus but to the disciples He appeared as a stranger because Jesus took on a physical body that was not the same body that they knew Him in when He had walked with them for three years.
So this one that's Jesus appears to them as a stranger, and Jesus says to them, "What's wrong"? And they said to Him, "Don't you know what's going on here? The one that we thought was the Messiah of Israel that was going to deliver Israel from the oppression of the Romans and restore Israel's glory, He's been crucified". And then Jesus appearing to them as a stranger, the Scripture tells us, took them on a journey through the law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms, and showed them all those things that were hidden beneath the pages of Scripture that pointed to the Messiah, and how He was going to suffer and die. And then He opened their eyes to understand the scriptures, and they realized it was Jesus that was talking to them. And they saw how the entire Bible was prophetic and pointed to Jesus. The point is, beloved, the Bible finds its end, it finds its climax in the person of Yeshua. It all points to Him. And these holy days all point to Jesus.
That's why Jesus was crucified on Passover, buried on unleavened bread, rose on the Feast of Firstfruits and sent His spirit on the day that we call Pentecost, which is called in Hebrew Shavuot. Jesus fulfilled all the spring feast, and He's also going to fulfill the fall feast. Now, on next week's broadcast, I'm going to continue this very important living word. I'm going to talk about how Yom Teruah (the Feast of Trumpets) or Rosh Hashanah points to Yeshua and is fulfilled in Him. Because there's something critical here that you and I need to awaken to. The word that I'm going to bring you on the next broadcast in this series is the most fundamental word that we could all be hearing right now. And I'm going to tell you why it's the most important word for you right now the next time that I continue my series on another episode in this series.